The ClearConnect Solutions Blog


Singer, Songwriter, and Guitarist Austin Sweeney Delivers the Goods Through Commercial Trucking

March 26, 2024 | By ClearConnect Solutions

Red Table Beets

The load was red table beets totaling the max 80,000 pounds including the Freightliner tractor-trailer. It originated from Dayton, Oregon, which is farming country. Berries, hazelnuts, wheat, dairy, nursery plants, and vegetables – red table beets, included. While transporting the red beet load, commercial truck driver Austin Sweeney experienced instinct kicking in that quite possibly saved a life.

“I was raised on our family farm in Dayton,” said Austin. “The 16-hour graveyard shift corn hauls and the beet loads during the day is how I cut my teeth on driving for a living,” he said. Perhaps not typical training for a career in commercial trucking, but it served its purpose.

It occurred as he was headed into Salem, Oregon on a long downhill. At the bottom of the hill was a traffic signal. “It’s always green for quite some time, but I knew from experience to be cautious of the light turning red, because on that steep downhill there’s not a lot of time to stop with a full load,” said Austin. “This day however, my senses were alerted. Instinctively I began my braking procedure well ahead of the normal stopping distance.”

At the bottom of the hill was a man in an electric wheelchair. “At the last moment, the electric wheelchair drives out into the crosswalk where I would have been had I driven that hill normally. My truck is at a full stop at this point directly in front of this man sitting in his electric wheelchair in the crosswalk while my light is still green,” Austin continued. “I’m about to get out of the truck to go help him, but he turns towards the sidewalk, drives back onto it, looks at me, and gives me the ‘go ahead’ hand gesture. I’m grateful for my instincts that day, wherever they came from.”

Austin B. Sweeney’s Music Career

Besides providing a happy ending for that truck driving adventure, Austin is grateful that instinct steered him into music at an early age. “I got into music at age 12,” he said. “I started as a guitar player, and then began writing songs and singing. I learned to play guitar, bass, mandolin, and drums. I quickly became passionate about my music and songwriting.” Fast forward to 2019 when his debut album, The Wild, was released. Followed by a new single and EP in 2023, Austin’s new album, Long Walk Out of the Woods, is set to be released later this year. (

Austin’s music (@austinbsweeneymusic) traverses through a landscape of genres that features country, rock, blues, folk, and Americana. “Our band came to be primarily electric, although I often do solo gigs acoustically as well,” he said, adding “sometimes we’re picking bluegrass-style songs, or we’re taking a detour into 90’s style funk songs. Bluegrass can be a real jam.” They perform across Arizona and frequently in Oregon. The group is branching out into new territories.

The Intersection of Commercial Trucking and Music

With titles like Longhaulers and Interstate Meditation, Austin’s dual career intersecting truck driving and music is on display. But the songs he writes are about more than truck driving. “Song ideas pop into my head. I write them down or type the idea into my phone. Whatever catches my eye, not just hauling freight,” Austin reveals. “Most of the time when I sit down to write, I write lyrics first, especially during breaks when I’m on the road driving. But then when I’m home, and messing around on my guitar, something will begin to take shape musically, and then I’ll write the lyrics to fit the music.”

When asked how his commercial trucking career impacts his songwriting, Austin replied, “My songs are self-referential, often an idea I’m trying to work out in my head while I’m driving. If I feel lonely I can write a song for that. Anxiety, metaphysical stuff, you name it. What I see on the road – friendly cities, alleyways, weird locations and people I meet – they’re all truly my muse. So, my  profession as a truck driver does tie into my music; the open road, the scenery, the people I meet. My songs aren’t just about the trucker’s life, but the job does provide me with time, the open road, scenery, interesting people, the ability to think, and to witness things that happen in the world.  My music is not complicated on the surface, but we try to go deep underneath. The band gets it, too.

When I moved to Phoenix almost five years ago, I wanted a job driving. I got a great job with Wilson Electric. That was a good thing because driving was something I was good at and also enjoyed. But, because of the time and inspiration it affords me, I can honestly say that the driving job is not simply neutral, but helpful to fuel my career as a musician.”

Although he is “good at his job [in commercial trucking],” Austin considers himself a musician first. “My goal is music full-time.  I want to eventually be more efficient with my music, to work in definite time frames, and provide myself a framework to be able to create. At the same time, I realize that my driving job puts me OUT THERE living life, working a hard job, and meeting people. I am forever grateful for that.”

Whether performing solo or with his band, Austin’s pride in his music is evident. When asked what he is most proud of in his truck driving career, Austin doesn’t hesitate.

Driving Big Rigs

“My dad thought it would be a good idea to teach some of my buddies who were working on the farm how to haul corn and beets with the big rigs. I successfully taught three of them to drive. My friends were all smart guys and good automobile drivers, but learning to drive trucks on those narrow roads in and around Dayton was a daunting task. Being the one who showed them the ropes was a big undertaking, but also incredibly rewarding. Once all of us were hauling crops together, it meant that I was no longer the only one hauling corn all night and beets during the day. I had friends out there on the road that could share the burden. I’m happy to say that all of the guys I taught had ZERO ACCIDENTS over the three-year span that they worked for the farm.”

The Tap Room – A Chance Meeting with Austin

The ClearConnect Solutions team met Austin with a stroke of good fortune at one of their favorite hangouts – The Tap Room at Old Country Inn in Pine, AZ. Being a family business, Operations Manager Zoey Medrano and President and Co-founder Scott Grandys were there after an off-site day of strategic planning. Austin’s music pulled them in, and they were captivated by his soulful melodies. Austin’s music reflects the essence of life on the road – the adventure, the perspective, and the grit it takes to be a long haul trucker. Scott couldn’t help himself. Always a people person, he introduced Zoey to Austin and a bond was formed. The team is delighted to present a small part of Austin’s story to you today.

Whether writing and performing great music, hauling freight, or teaching others how to drive SAFELY, Austin B. Sweeney is blazing his own trail to always “deliver” the goods.